What Do Humans Hear When Technology Talks?

“Young orphan, trained by a wizard, surprises entire kingdom when crowned for removing sword from boulder.”

“Unlikely friends realize they have more in common than not while in high-school detention.”

Let this be a reminder to those of us in the industry formerly known as advertising: Great stories are great stories because they’re simple. It’s nothing new. It’s been this way as long as we’ve had breath in our human lungs.

As long as we’ve been able to form words with our mouths, we have:

  • Warned our children of the dangers of “crying wolf.”
  • Recommended we build houses of bricks, instead of straw.
  • Celebrated humble winners for slowing down and getting it right, rather than bragging about speed.

And so many more lessons, passed through generations, with the sole purpose of helping us grow smarter and more aware of what the universe is likely to throw at us.

Repeat: This is a reminder. One doesn’t build a career in marketing without a basic understanding of the benefits of storytelling. And yet…

“The solid state XRCore prevents 99% of RAM capacitor overheating incidents.”

“This platform supports HEVC and the latest generations of codecs utilized by multimedia services.”

I mean…huh?

Is folklore suddenly less important because technology has demanded we speak differently? Has the fable gone the way of the Betamax? Should we pack up our primitive pencils in favor of ones and zeroes?

Sure. If we want our customers to stop caring.

As a species, we’re designed to process complex information into simple, understandable nuggets that help us interpret what’s in it for us. Yet, when we promote technology products, many B2B marketers struggle to resist the urge to include information customers simply won’t understand.

It makes perfect sense. Tech-product marketers are often very close to the development, living and breathing these products and services, forming deep relationships with them. By the time it’s ready for demand generation, it’s second nature to use the vocabulary that has taken it this far.

Not to mention, most tech marketers operate in complex, multitiered B2B channels. It’s important to find the momentum from within the organization to help our launches see the light of the market. In other words, everyone is a customer. But while our customers are often fluent, our end users usually are not. Messages must be customized by their audience, and some audiences simply don’t speak specs.

“How will customers know how fast the processor is if we don’t say it?” Perhaps that’s the wrong question. Perhaps we should be asking if a customer cares how fast the processor is. Perhaps a customer cares that she can download an entire movie in 16 milliseconds.

Marketers, your agencies may not have your heads for science, but if there’s one thing we understand it’s how to find meaning and unlock behaviors in your customers that your products deserve. Please don’t be surprised if we try to dumb it down.

After all, we’re only human.

Click here to see how Ignite helped Qualcomm turn a deck of B2B specs into a compelling narrative.